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23 October

In the headlines

Home Secretary Suella Braverman will meet the head of the Metropolitan Police today, to discuss why officers didn’t arrest pro-Palestine protesters who chanted “jihad”at a rally in London on Saturday. Responding to a video of one of the demonstrators, the Met said the word had “a number of meanings” and that no specific offence had been committed. Scientists have found a way to cut deaths from cervical cancer by 35%, says The Times. The new approach – a six-week course of chemotherapy before the standard combination of chemotherapy and radiotherapy – is “the biggest advance” in treatment for two decades. Competitors battled it out in giant pumpkin boats at a festival in Belgium yesterday. The Halloween-themed event near Antwerp saw contenders navigate a 100-metre river course in the hollowed-out squashes, some of which originally weighed over a ton. 🎃🛶


Winners of this year’s Nikon Small World photography competition include close-up snaps of a match setting alight; a purple mouse embryo; two “fruiting bodies” of slime mould; a cuckoo wasp standing on a flower; and crystallised sugar syrup. See the full list here.


Striking actors in Hollywood have been given strict instructions by their union on what they are and aren’t allowed to wear at Halloween. Sag-Aftra says dressing up as characters from buzzy movies like Barbie or Oppenheimer would count as promoting content made by studios the actors are in dispute with, and instead suggests costumes “inspired by generalised characters and figures (ghost, zombie, spider, etc)”. Actor Ryan Reynolds wrote on X (formerly Twitter): “I look forward to screaming ‘scab’ at my eight-year-old all night.”

Gone viral

A dog-walker in Scotland has captured footage of high winds lifting up a forest floor during Storm Babet. David Nugent-Malone told the BBC he and his dog Jake had walked through that particular section of Stirlingshire woodland “literally hundreds of times before” and never seen anything like it. He compared the rising mesh of roots and soil to a “muddy tablecloth”. See a longer video here.


To The Times:

Sir Peter Rubin thinks it unwise for MPs to make decisions while under the influence of alcohol (letter, Oct 20). According to Herodotus, the ancient Persians would disagree. They would deliberate on important matters while drunk, and then reconsider on the following day when sober; only if the same result was achieved on both occasions would the decision stand. Of course, this does require that there are at least some days of abstinence.

Geoff Wilkins, Brixworth, Northants


They’re £115 cowboy boots made by Crocs, the US company famous for their squeaky, hole-filled rubber clogs. The gaucho galoshes come in faux crocodile leather with the classic Crocs holes and spurs on the back so you can, as the company’s website puts it, “really kick up some dirt”. Although given all those holes, most of that dirt will end up on your feet. Order a pair here.



“All of us labour in webs spun long before we were born.”

William Faulkner